Online Master's Degree in Nursing (RN to MSN)

Working registered nurses (RNs) seeking career advancement can find online RN to MSN programs. Read on for information about the program description, common classes and online course delivery methods. See how a master's degree in nursing can advance your career. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Online Master's Degree in Nursing (RN to MSN) Programs Are There?

If you're already a registered nurse (RN), you can find an online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program that can prepare you for a career in a growing field. Online MSN programs often offer specializations in areas including nurse practitioner preparation, clinical nursing education and health care administration. If you're an RN without a bachelor's degree, there are also online programs that allow you to earn both a bachelor's and a master's degree on an accelerated schedule.

Online ProgramsNurse practitioner, clinical nursing education and healthcare administration specializations are common; combination BSN and MSN programs are available if you do not already have a bachelor's degree.
Course WorkCourse work varies by specialization but is likely to include leadership skills, communication and bedside manners.
Learning OnlineMost course work is entirely online with the possible exception of any required clinical hours, which can be done close to home. Online tools such as chat, email or video conferencing are required to communicate with your instructor and classmates.
Job OutlookMedian annual salary of $87,507 for nurse practitioners as of January, 2016


What Courses Do I Need to Take?

In an RN to MSN program, you gain leadership skills, bedside manners and communication techniques. Depending on the area you're studying, you may take specialized courses. In a health systems management concentration, you learn about marketing, finance and personnel management. As a nurse practitioner student, you learn about diagnostics and patient interaction. If you're interested in teaching nursing, you'll take courses that discuss curriculum planning and student evaluation.

If you're enrolled in a program designed for students who haven't yet earned a bachelor's degree, you also take courses that discuss health assessment, pathology and microbiology. Some of your undergraduate credits are typically replaced with some graduate-level courses.

How Can I Learn Online?

In many cases, you can earn credits for your RN to MSN entirely online, and your required clinical hours can be completed at a facility near your home. Some programs offer optional on-campus sessions, often held during the summer term. Additionally, you may be required to complete projects that apply to your community. Online RN to MSN programs usually allow you to work at your own pace and on your own schedule, though deadlines and due dates still apply.

In an online degree program, you access your school's Internet-based classroom platform, through which you submit assignments, participate in class discussions and view course materials. Often, you view lecture videos and presentations via the Web, and you communicate with your instructors through e-mail and chat services.

Why Should I Earn an MSN?

An MSN program trains you to work in many areas of nursing. You could work in administration, teaching or public health. You could be a clinical nurse, nurse practitioner or nurse midwife. According to, family nurse practitioners with an MSN earned between $72,509 and $106,397 as of March 2016. The median salary for all types of nurse practitioners was $87,507 as of January 2016.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools